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August 5th – State House District 61

On August 5th at noon at the Ferguson Law Center, Tampa Tiger Bay Club welcomed in State House of Representatives candidates for District 61! This program was recorded and aired on the Tampa Bay Arts and Education Network! 

Additionally, we are welcomed judicial candidates from County Court Group 10, Shelton Bridges and Miriam Valkneburg, and Circuit Court Group 3, Robin Fuson and Carl Hinson,  for a meet and greet.

District 61 is essentially the “downtown Tampa” district; however, it does reach east of 301 at points, west of I-275, south to Progress Village, and North to County Road 581. Whomever emerges out of District 61, will be a part of the process that appropriates over $82 billion dollars throughout the State. 

Vying for the seat vacated by Ed Narain (who is now running for State Senate), is Dianne “Ms. Dee” Hart, Sean Shaw, and Walter Smith. Each is a Democrat and there are no Republicans running in this race.

Diane "Ms. Dee" Hart

Diane “Ms. Dee” Hart

Born and raised in East Tampa, Hart has been the proprietor of Ms. Dee’s World of Beauty, a hair salon, since the 1980s. Later came involvement with the East Tampa Business and Civic Association, where she become an advocate for adding sidewalks, enhanced lighting and other basic infrastructure improvements in East Tampa neighborhoods.

More than a decade ago she became involved in helping secure East Tampa as a CRA. That’s a special taxing district where a portion of property taxes from the district must be set aside for redevelopment there. From

Sean Shaw

Sean Shaw

Sean Shaw is the son of the late Leander J. Shaw Jr., the state’s first black chief justice, who died in December 2015. Shaw was picked by former Gov. Charlie Crist to serve as the state’s Insurance Consumer Advocate from November 2008 through September 2010. He is also the founder of Policyholders of Florida, a group focused on campaigning against unfair property insurance increases on Florida families. From


Walter Smith

Walter Smith

Walter Smith is the son of Jeraldine Williams, a civil rights activist and one of the first black students to attend the University of Florida in 1963. Smith is also a graduate of Florida A&M University, he’s currently a host of the WMNF 88.5-FM radio program Sunday Forum and serves as an alternate on the Barrio Latino Commission in Tampa. From